Archive for February, 2011

Cabin fever

Yesterday I paused in front of this stylish travel display that sits near our fireplace. As I crouched down to take a picture, I found myself wishing I could steal a suitcase from the pile, toss in a toothbrush and a swimming suit, and hightail it to a tropical destination.

One of my roommates works for an airline company, so displays like this dot the house. (You’d think they would compete with the other decor gems that occupy our small space. But, somehow, they only enhance the homeyness.)
Because of her job, said roommate is constantly packing her bags and taking to the skies. Another of my roommates has been on vacation in New York this weekend, making frequent FB updates about her adventures.
One of my co-workers is planning his Presidents Day getaway. Another is preparing his passport for a trip home to England. And yet another was out of town this weekend — somewhere in the mountains with a group of Boy Scouts.
And I am jealous of all of them. Yes, even a camping experience could satisfy my wanderlust. (Those of you who know me well should probably start Googleing travel agents who can save me from myself. You know we have a problem when the call of the wild, which I usually send straight to voicemail, has gotten through to me.)
I don’t have the time or the money for a trip, and I’m happy with my life right now. But I’m craving a getaway.
While a hike — or even a walk around the block — would do, if I could go anywhere, it would be Palau. A visit there is No. 6 on my bucket list.
I first learned of this island nation from friends in Tokyo who regularly took to exotic locations for summer break. While visiting any part of these islands intrigues me, I’m especially interested in Jellyfish Lake — where you can swim with non-stinging jelly fish. True story.

(You don’t need the sound on this.)
So if you don’t hear from me in the next few days, grab your snorkeling gear, and join me and the jellyfish.
Or check the local REI. Please pry the tent stakes and snowshoes from my hands and send me home. I’ll thank you later.
If you could go anywhere, where would it be?

A very merry Valentine’s event

A few posts ago, I mentioned my cute roommate Bryn and how she keeps our home spotlessly clean and decked for the holidays — and every day in between.

I came home tonight to find a smorgasbord of Valentine treats covering the counter and Bryn busily prepping for a party. And let me tell you, this girl knows how to do it right. She puts Martha Stewart to same. Observe:
She made these peanut butter blossoms and sprinkled them with festivity.
She can even make gummy hearts poured from a plastic bag look classy.
Cuteness is standard at our house, but Bryn went all out for a Lush Tub party she hosted tonight. Have you heard of Lush Tub? It’s a company that lets you customize bath and body products. So in addition to plenty of appealing aromas coming from the brownies, we also had scents of “Fresh Linen,” “Black Cherry” and “Pink Sugar” oils dancing in our heads.
My favorite scent was “Pineapple Slices,” which was quite popular among several girls who added it to lotions, bath salts and foam soap.
The party was a sweet success. And I was even able to work in something healthy to snack on.
I’ve heard carrots can help eye sight, but did you know they also cancel out any negative effects of excessive chocolate consumption?

Driving for our dinner

Tonight presented another happy surprise. My dad had been in St. George for business meetings, and we were able to meet up during his layover in Salt Lake.

We had planned to grab a quick meal at the airport, but apparently heightened security not only prevents people from bringing anything dangerous into the terminals, but it also stops starving souls from accessing anything worth calling dinner. Without a boarding ticket, you can’t make it past the scanners, and you certainly can’t get your hands on a sandwich, a salad — or a Cinnabon, for that matter.

In an attempt to find us somewhere to sit down and catch up, my dad asked a man at the information desk for a restaurant recommendation.

When we pulled up to Lofte’s Social Club, I realized Dad should have mentioned to the man that he was looking for a safe, family-friendly, sanitary spot.

This is an awful piece of photography with terrible composition and lighting, but, trust me, it more than does the place justice.
We walked next door to the pizzeria part of the establishment, but it wasn’t any more appealing.
As we looked up and down the empty street, Dad suddenly remembered that the man at the information desk had told him NOT to go to Lofte’s, but rather to go to another restaurant nearby. I’d been worried the man had tried to take my nice dad for a ride when he suggested this shady place – which would have been cruel – so I was glad to learn it was a mistake.
I went right back to questing the man’s sanity when I saw the place he had actually recommended.
Again, please forgive the photography. We were in a hurry, so there wasn’t time to do anything but laugh and take a quick snapshot. This is just the restaurant’s sign, but, believe me, it was the most inviting part of the place.
Starving, and watching our precious hour together tick by, we rushed over to a hotel in the hope that they would at least have a basket of reception-desk mints we could snack on.
Luckily, the hotel had a small dinning room. Dad thought the picture of the smiling girl above our table was a sign we were meant to end up here all along. The salmon didn’t hurt, either.
(This is also not a glamor shot. Feel free to decry the lack of aesthetic appeal in all previous photos, but please withhold judgment on this one.)
In the end, our time together was much too brief, but we had a good laugh while singing for our supper.

Lunch was like a box of chocolates

When I woke up this morning to the violent wind and cloudy skies, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find anything worth blogging about. But the sun came out as I was driving to work, and a happy surprise presented itself this afternoon that lent itself especially well to posting.

After a morning of meetings, three of my co-workers and I went out to lunch — at a candy shop. Naturally.

I was confused but thrilled when the men in the group chose chocolate over our company’s nearby hamburger joint. (It wasn’t necessarily a healthier option, but I prefer sweets to beef.)

Have you heard of Hatch Family Chocolates, run by TLC’s Little Chocolatiers? I highly, highly recommend this heavenly spot.
My co-workers and I are especially fond of the hot chocolate, which I introduced them to today. I’m pretty sure is just a box of melted chocolates poured into a cup, so converting my co-workers was simple. The chocolate is thick, indulgent and pretty much turns to pudding as it cools.
The decadent drinks received this praise from one member of our group: “You think it would be too rich, but every mouthful assures me it is delicious.”
After we left the chocolate shop, we made a stop at a pastry store down the street. (You’d think this was a perfectly pre-planned afternoon, but it turns out the guys I work with are just that cool and come up with this stuff on the fly.)
With hot chocolate in tow, we bought a baguette and spilt the crusty loaf with our hands. It reminded me a little bit of that scene from “Aladdin” where he shares the stolen bread with his side-kick monkey. (We employed an equally unsanitary method for consuming it, but we did pay for it.)
Our conversations during this brief lunch hour involved everything from butter (which was fitting, given the bread) to Kermit the Frog, The Beatles, British words to avoid and Prada parachute pants. I won’t attempt to justify those last few.
At one point while we were in the pastry shop, we got talking about marzipan. I made a comment about how I’d never tasted it, and the lady behind the counter handed me this:
I’ve yet to try the marzipan pig. The fact that it has been sitting on my desk and staring at me for the past three hours hasn’t made me eager to eat it.
Overall, I’d say it was a productive lunch break. Now I’m off to make an oat bran dinner to compensate for this calorific afternoon.